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6 Jul, 2022 13:54

Runner stripped of medal after mother helps him cross finish line (VIDEO)

The athlete was close to collapse near the finish line at a race in Russia
Runner stripped of medal after mother helps him cross finish line (VIDEO)

A mother who helped her son cross the finish line in a 10kms race as he looked set to collapse from exhaustion has cost the runner a silver medal.

Artem Burtsev led the event in the Russian Far Eastern region of Yakutia for most of its duration.

Nearing the end, however, he began to stumble in 34C (93F) heat and was overtaken by an opponent.

Seeing her son struggling, his mother ran out onto the track and helped him get over the finish line.

But it was ruled that the interference would cost Burtsev a silver medal.

Yakutia's First Deputy Minister for Physical Culture and Sports, Alexander Bugaev, referred to the rules noting that there should be no "strangers" on the track as "outside help is immediately a disqualification."

"When Burtsev crossed the finish line, his mother helped him... The decision was made by the panel of judges," confirmed Bugaev, according to Sports.ru.

Bugaev did add that if his health allows him to, Burtsev will take part in the 5km race on Thursday while currently under the supervision of doctors.

The incident had echoes of a similar occurrence at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics involving Great Britain runner Derek Redmond, who had achieved the fastest time in the 400m event's first round and won his quarterfinal.

In the semis, Redmond started well but then tore his hamstring with around 250 meters to spare. As stretchers were brought over to him, Redmond decided he wanted to finish his race and was joined on the track by his father Jim who had barged past security. 

In memorable scenes, Derek and Jim finished the race together arm-in-arm and received a standing ovation from the 65,000 punters in attendance. Like Burtsev, though, Redmond was disqualified for the act and his performance was officially recorded as 'Did not finish'.

Decades later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) used footage of the moment as the subject of one of its 'Celebrate Humanity' videos in 2006. 

"Strength is measured in pounds. Speed is measured in seconds. Courage? You can't measure courage," read a message in the clip.

In years to come, perhaps Burtsev and his mother might be revered in the same fashion as the Redmonds in Russian sport.

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